After travelling through Glasgow, we took a short bus ride to Edinburgh and arrived at St Andrews Station. Our hostel, Budget Backpackers, was perfectly located in the centre of the city so we didn’t mind a room with eight bunk beds.
On the first day, we didn’t really have any plans so we walked around the Royal Mile and found the beautiful Princess Street Garden near the Scott Monument. It is a gorgeous public park right in the middle of the city. You can just sit there for an entire day and watch the world go by. We walked around the park for a bit and had a delicious ice-cream before finding a perfect spot to sit back and relax.
If you have been to Central Park in New York City, you can definitely relate to the beauty of having a lush green park right in the heart of the city. The park was full of life with fantastic ambiance. During the course of a few hours we spent at the park, we could feel the energy of this beautiful city. People who worked in the nearby area were dropping by during their breaks to enjoy a sandwich or an ice cream. Kids were playing with their parents or watching pigeons. And tourists like us were admiring the view of the castle and the Scott Monument right next to the park.
The next day we visited Arthur’s Seat and St. Margaret’s Loch. It turns out that many locals go on regular hiking trips on Arthur’s Seat since it offers spectacular panoramic views of the city. We picked up our trail maps from the entrance and chose a route that required moderate hiking skills. For adventurous hikers there are a few challenging routs that include a number of steep climbs as well.
As we climbed higher and higher on this grass covered dormant volcano that rises around 800 feet above the sea level, we were able to see some pretty amazing and unobstructed views of Edinburgh. On the way back, we stopped by St. Margaret’s Loch to feed some swans and geese.